Award Date

12-1-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Christopher A. Kearney

Second Committee Member

Michelle G. Paul

Third Committee Member

Andrew Freeman

Fourth Committee Member

Lori Olafson

Number of Pages

131

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between school absenteeism severity and specific clinical and family variables in 118 middle and high school youth aged 11-19 years recruited from two truancy settings. The primary aim was to determine specific clinical and family variables that may be predictive of absenteeism severity in community youth. A secondary aim was to examine the level of absenteeism that warrants the most clinical concern. Hypotheses for the proposed study were based on the premise that characteristics of a community sample of youth with problematic absenteeism would generally resemble those identified in previous clinical samples. The first set of hypotheses involved specific clinical and family variables that may predict absenteeism severity evaluated on a dimensional basis. The second set of hypotheses involved potential differences in specific clinical and family variables between categorically defined levels of absenteeism. The first categorically defined levels of absenteeism were based on a definition of “high absence” as equal to or greater than 15% of days missed (Ingul et al., 2012). The second categorically defined levels of absenteeism were based on equivalent sample size distributions (0-19%, 20-53%, and 54-100%). Results revealed obsessions and compulsions as significant predictors of absenteeism severity on a dimensional basis. Results also revealed significant differences between categorically defined levels of absenteeism among various clinical variables, specifically internalizing symptoms. A majority of these differences occurred between the first and second levels of absenteeism severity, suggesting that youth with a level of absenteeism severity between 15-60% may be of the most clinical concern. These findings have important implications for the early identification and treatment of at-risk youth.

Keywords

Absenteeisn; Internalizing Symptoms; Severity; Youth

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology

Language

English


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